ONE MINUTE WITH PASTOR
What I have seen in 2016 are hopeful signs. I can see that the practice of prayer is slowly taking traction. People are now familiar with the importance of slowing down, of silence, solitude and reflection. Ancient methods of prayer such as lectio divina and the examen are slowly appreciated and practiced more and more. We have learned a lot in the sermons and workshops and practiced these in our personal life, cell groups and leadership platforms like Cell Leaders Training, Board of Elders, Leaders’ Planning Retreat, Staff Meetings. We press on in 2017 and will take out prayer resources old and new to help us develop a lifestyle of abiding.
The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Skills 2.0 was wisely halved to give more space and time for attitudes and skills to find root in our relationships. I have personally grown emotionally and am more able to speak the truth in love and I hope you have grown too, and we will continue to do so in 2017.
Another beautiful thing I see the Lord doing is the summons to serve Christ beyond church walls: out among the unreached peoples, out in the marketplace, and out in the community. We are mostly at the early stage of awareness, laying down foundational truths, and ankle deep exposures of serving outside church walls. Next year lets go knee deep in the river of God.
Overall a positive hopeful year. Thank you Jesus.
Pastor Kenny Chee
This is the time of the year we should carve time out for some reflection. I do this annually. Usually a half-day. Sometimes two half-days. I read the year’s journal entries and summarize what God has been doing, notice key processing moments, and the dominant affections.
What this does is to give me a sense of what God has been doing in and through me, how he has blessed me, what he has been teaching me.
Those who do not journal can also reflect. List down all your blessings of 2016, big and small, material, spiritual or relational. List down also all the difficult times of feeling frustrated, fearful, disappointed, sad, discouraged, stressed or upset.
Then bring the list of blessings before God, remember each of them, and with stirred gratitude, tell God, “Lord thank you so much” one by one.
Next bring the list of negatives to the Lord and converse with the Lord about the most dominant and common ones – whether it be work, relations with a difficult person, or a spiritual problem. Let God assure or teach you lessons or empower you to forgive or ask forgiveness where needed.
Finally, give a name to your year, make peace with the past, and ask God to increase your faith for the coming year.
Pastor Kenny Chee
A pastor who sells his services to the highest bidder; a callous businessman who chops up his dead mistress into pieces to incite tribal reaction; a society that applies pragmatic solutions to problems but instead spins off even more problems: the last 5 chapters of Judges gives us a graphic picture of what will happen to faith, morality and society when relativism reigns, and people do what is right in their own eyes, disregarding God’s absolutes. The world is in this downward spiral.
Our pulpit exploration into Judges has been interesting and probing. We were stunned by colorful characters and disgusting happenings. We felt the corruption and violence of a society that chose to go their own way instead of God’s ways, preferred idols to the true God, and stamped the Israeli judge-leaders with traces of its own degenerate culture.
The book of Judges prepares its readers for the next book: 1 and 2 Kings which show why and how Israel came to have kings, imitating the other godless nations. Even more, it points us away from disappointing flawed judge-leaders to the perfect Judge-Leader Jesus Christ who would one day deliver humans from the penalty of sins. And this is the message of Christmas: “She (Mary) will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mat 1:21)
Pastor Kenny Chee
Peter Scazzero wrote, “People are not experiencing deep transformation in our churches. Large numbers of people live off other people’s spirituality (e.g. worship teams, sermons, Christian radio and podcasts) and do not intentionally cultivate their own personal relationship with Jesus”.
Discipleship is a slow process and it requires us to slow down and remove our modern expectations of instant results. Scazzero continues:
“The kingdom of God is a mustard seed that grows very slowly. What makes us think we can quickly grow our people for true, long-term kingdom impact? The people of Israel were freed from the slavery of Pharaoh by sheer grace. Yet their journey to actually break 400 years of generational sins that lived in their bones was a slow, difficult process that took 40 years”.
Granted we have the gospel and the Holy Spirit that the Israelites did not have. However, the evidence of Scriptures and our experience tell us discipleship is a slow process that requires us to slow down and sink our roots deep in the finished work of Christ, and spread our branches out in the many ways we relate to our God, and the fruit appear and are made available for people in need.
– Pastor Kenny Chee
The practice of prayer is a struggle for all. We try to pray with the right method and find ourselves so absorbed in doing it right, we forget the presence of the Master. We persist with a particular favoured technique and forget that the Teacher knows what is best for us in the particular season we are in. So if a technique of prayer does not impart life to you, drop it for one that does.
Proper prayer is the one that makes us keenly aware of His Presence and Person. Methods and techniques are means to an end.
We will teach you many and you should get familiarized with them so that you can use them at the proper time. The goal of using them must always be to be with God, to enjoy His company, to listen to Him and leave times of prayer with an osmosis of Jesus’ love, whether felt or unfelt.
SP Kenny Chee
Christmas is just around the corner. It is the season where most people are relaxed and in a celebrative mood. Their concept of Christmas is understandably superficial and commercial.
This Christmas Day which falls on a Sunday, we are planning an evening event (instead of the normal morning worship), called A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
This special event is meant for church members to invite pre-believing family members and guests to sing carols with us and experience why and how Christians celebrate Christmas.
It is designed to help people understand the true meaning of Christmas and to feast and get to know us over a Christmas meal. Instead of feeling threatened, we want them to feel welcomed by God’s hospitality.
-Help us invite friends and family members.
-Volunteer your talents and abilities for this event.
-Pray for God’s love and hospitality to be experienced.
-Be fully present, be fully listening, be hospitable.
It will be an exciting and meaningful Christmas Day.
In 2017 one of our main thrusts is to serve Christ beyond the church walls. This is what the Senior Pastor’s Office” (SPO) sees the Lord inviting the church to do. In April, we have invited Joseph Thean to our missions Sundays again. He will also conduct a workshop to train us on our “mission’s involvement component” of our Bangkok camp. In addition we have Stephen Goode to share from Scriptures and his ministry, what God wants His church to do about the needs of the poor and the “sinned against” today.
May I urge you to sign up for the church camp in Bangkok and join in what God wants to do in and through us in 2017. The Early Bird special ends in two weeks’ time and we also need a critical mass to reserve bulk tickets. We believe God will deposit important truths, values and experiences in us. Blessings!
Lean on Me
For I am strong
Lean on Me
And I will be your song
Lean on Me
And we can do wonders
Lean on me
And you will not wander
Lean on me
And you will hear my call
Lean on Me
And you will be walking tall
Joshua Lim was inspired to write this poem during our worship time one Sunday. We read it out during the service then. I cannot help but see that it has so much relevance to today’s sermon, as though it was written for Gideon and us.
PASTOR KENNY CHEE
It was C.S. Lewis who mentioned that like dancing, worship works best when you do not have to think about it. “As long as you notice and have to count the steps, you are not yet dancing, but only learning to dance.”(C.S. Lewis in Letters to Malcolm)
Thus the more familiar you are with a song of praise or worship the more likely you will be able to focus on God’s presence, instead of trying to follow the tune and find the words. Thus familiarity enhances the experience.
Does it mean that we do not learn new songs? New songs are important as they express our adoration and need in ways that the children of each generation can relate and identify as their voice. The best way then is for us to introduce new songs, but sing it over and over till familiarity breeds worship, not contempt. It becomes “like dancing”.
The Leaders’ Planning Retreat 2016 sought a fuller expression of total dependency on God. We wanted to plan with Jesus. There were more times of waiting on God, and there were morning chapels, to allow the Spirit to influence and shape our thinking and feeling. It required patient waiting and listening, as we learned to trust God with all our heart.
Besides sharing and planning, we also spent more time bonding across people-groups (ZXFET, DFF, GNK, English Adult) and ministries. Ice-breakers, inter-ministry meals, sharing of life and prayer for one another’s ministries and people-groups helped to deepen trust, strengthen hope, and enrich love.
We are learning that it takes longer to plan with Jesus, than to plan without Jesus. To allow Christ the Head of the Church to lead the Body, we need to discern His orders to us. This takes time.